Sunday, May 17, 2020

Five Ways to Eat Florida Betony

     So you’ve found some Stachys floridana, Florida Betony, and have heard lots of lovely things about how they taste, but you have no idea where to start. You’ve come to the right place. I have decided to share five of my favorite Stachys recipes with you. All of these recipes involve the root, and some even involve the leaves and/or flowers. I hope they give you some ideas of how to prepare this tasty Florida native.

1. Pickled Betony and other Veggies (Lactofermentation method). This recipe is actually a mixture of veggies, but you can just use a single one if you want. It’s based on the Italian Giardiniera or pickled mixed vegetables. I use a few different wildcrafted Florida plants here, but you can use store bought ones as well.

Florida Giardiniera

4 cups Florida Betony Tubers
2 cups sliced Carrots
1 ½ cups sliced Red Onion
2 cups sliced Celery
2 cups Purslane
2 cups sliced Hearts of Palm (Saw Palmetto hearts)
2 thinly sliced Jalepenos (leave the seeds in if you want more heat)
3-5 Garlic Cloves peeled and thinly sliced
1 sprig fresh Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
3 tablespoons Sea Salt (do not use iodized salt for fermentation)
6 cups filtered mineral Water (using tap water may prevent fermentation)
* 1-2 Grape leaves for each fermentation vessel you are using

     Prepare your brine by dissolving the salt in water. Mix all the ingredients except the brine in a large bowl. Add them to the Fermenting Vessel(s) of your choice (I tend to use mason jars) packing them down as you go. Fill each jar with the brine, leaving 1½ - 2 inches of headroom (the space at the top), between the rim of the jar and the top of the vegetables. Weight the vegetables so they are completely submerged in the brine. Place a1-2 grape leaves on top of your veggies. This will help prevent the formation of mold and the tannins from the grape leaves will help you veggies stay crunchy. Cover the top of the vessel with a lid, coffee filter, paper towel, cheese cloth, or tea towel. Be sure to secure towels with a very tight rubber band or the ring from the canning jars. Place the jar out of direct light. Ferment at room temperature 4 days before checking the flavor. If you prefer the flavor more sour, continue fermenting. If to your taste transfer the jars to the refrigerator. Burp the jars once daily (to release any built-up gasses) the giardiniera does continue to ferment while in the refrigerator. I usually prefer mine at 1 week, but you can allow the fermentation to continue up to 6 weeks.

2. Florida Betony Refrigerator Pickles. This is a simple, and tasty method of pickling. No cooking or waiting necessary with this recipe. Simply put all the ingredients in a jar and leave them overnight. They’ll be ready to eat the next day.

Betony Refrigerator Pickles

Enough Betony Tubers to fill your jar mostly full, with a little space at the top
1/4 cup Sweet Onion, sliced
1 teaspoon powdered Turmeric
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup Water
2 cloves Garlic, smashed
1 ½ teaspoons Sea Salt
¼ teaspoon Sugar or Honey
¼ teaspoon whole Peppercorns
¼ teaspoon whole Mustard Seeds

     Pack a clean pint-sized jar with sliced cucumbers, onion slices, and dill sprigs. Leave a ½ inch of space at the top of the jar for liquid. In a small pot heat the vinegar, water, garlic, and all spices until the mixture comes to a simmer and salt and sugar/honey dissolves. Cool the brine down to warm and fill the jar so everything is covered with brine. Close the lid tightly and refrigerate for over night before eating.

3. Betony as a Pasta Substitute? Yes! Some of you may be familiar with a type of pasta called Gnocchi. Betony can be substituted in any recipe that calls for that pasta. This is one of my favorite recipes that does just that. For those of you that eat meat, you can easily add shrimp, chicken, or prosciutto to this dish and it’s just fabulous!

Florida Betony with Asparagus and Lemon Garlic Sauce

1 pound Betony Tubers
1 bunch of Asparagus
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 small Sweet Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, smashed and chopped
2 tablespoons All Purpose Flour (I use Gluten free)
¼ cup Vegetable Stock
1 cup Almond Milk
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
Salt and Pepper to taste

     Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil and get a bowl of ice water handy. Boil the Betony tubers for 2 minutes, then move them to the ice water to cool, then set aside. Meanwhile, wash the asparagus and snap off the woody ends. Chop the asparagus into bite size (1-2 inch) pieces. Add the asparagus to a baking sheet Drizzle 2 teaspoons of oil over the asparagus, and rub it around with your hand to make sure it's all coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 for 9-10 minutes. The asparagus is done when it can easily be speared with a fork. Coat the bottom of a large pot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for about 30 second more, until very fragrant. Stir in the flour. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the flour forms a smooth paste and coats the onions. Stir in the vegetable stock, and bring the liquid to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 4 minutes, until reduced by half. Stir in the almond milk. Bring it to a boil, lower heat and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth and thick. Stir in the lemon juice, zest, Betony and Asparagus. Cook about 30 second more, stirring to coat the vegetables with the sauce. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot and enjoy!

4. Soup is my favorite comfort food. So why not add one of my favorite Florida vegetables to it? Check out this delicious and comforting recipe that uses the root, leaves, and flowers of Stachys floridana.

Easy Veggie Soup

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 ½ cups Yellow Onion, chopped
2 cups Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 ¼ cups Celery, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, crushed and minced
2 pints Vegetable Stock
2 (14.5 oz) cans Diced Tomatoes (undrained)
3 cups Betony Tubers
1 ½ cups fresh Green Beans, cut
1 cup frozen or fresh Peas
½ cup chopped Betony Leaves
¼ cup chopped Parsley
2 Bay Leaves
½ teaspoon dried Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
*optional fresh Betony Flowers for garnish

     Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute 4 minutes then add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Add in broth, tomatoes, Betony tubers, Betony leaves, parsley, bay leaves, thyme, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then add green beans and peas. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer about 20 - 30 minutes.

5. Salad is the easiest way to add different vegetables into your diet. This one makes use of fresh Betony tubers, leaves, and flowers.

Cucumber, Betony, and Wild Greens Salad

1 small Sweet Onion, finely chopped
¼ cup Avocado Oil
¼ cup Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 ½ pounds Cucumbers, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 pound Betony Tubers, sliced thin
2 cups fresh Parsley Leaves, coarsely chopped
¼ cup Betony Leaves, chopped
¼ cup Betony Flowers
¼ cup young Spanish Needle Leaves, chopped
¼ cup Peppergrass Leaves, chopped

     Whisk onion, oil, and vinegar in a large bowl. Add all the veggies and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

     Do these sound tasty? Let me know what you think! Feel free to play around with these recipes and make them your own! I’d love for you to share your experiences! If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for updates. Find me on YouTube and check out my videos! I also have a few things up on Teespring, check it out! Also, if you like what I do and what to see more, Become a Patron!

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